Term Three 2012
The New Zealand School of Dance
“The best teachers don’t give you the answers... They just point the way ... Good Teacher Magazine Term 3 2012 1 and let you make your own choices.”
Do you suppose anyone told her that?
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Index 3 Your Soapbox
We are all cultural beings Part 3
International Teaching Experience
Training the Professional Dencers of Tomorrow
The New Zealand School of Dance 16
A Little Bird Told Me
Elaine Le Sueur
Something Really Different
Where there’s muck there’s brass
The Story of Annabelle’s Art Work
Breakfasts, fetes and French Days
One Man’s Dream and the Ruben Jane
Interesting Sculptures Series
Fieldays sculpture competition winners
Let’s Copy How: Finland, Singapore, Korea, New Zealand and Canda Teach Science
Zoe, Samantha and Simone from The New Zealand School of Dance (Photo Stephen A’Court)
Inside Front Cover:
Random amusement while out and about
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We are all cultural beings:
Considerations for teachers in multi-ethnic classrooms
Culturally Intelligent TeachingIs this what makes an effective teacher?
This article is written from a New Zealand perspective. We are a country whose population is increasingly strengthened by the many immigrants who make it their home. I believe however, from my own International experiences, that many countries are facing the issues this rich diversity brings to educators. In this global world, we are not alone. I hope this series of articles will provide you with the framework to think deeply about who you are, your place in the world and your interactions with those for whom you have responsibility. When we as teachers reflect on our work, its successes and not so successful times, we may wonder about our ways of being and teaching, especially when our classes include ethnicities other than our own. Does our culture affect our teaching and if so â€“ in what way? Can we be more effective in ensuring our learners achieve and are positive and motivated in their learning? Will being more aware of culture â€“ both our own and that of our learners, make a difference? How culturally intelligent are we as teachers? Good Teacher Magazine Term 3 2012 5
There has been much written about “culturally responsive” teaching but maybe we need to rethink the language we use. Maybe it is that we need to be culturally intelligent as teachers. If this is so, what do we need to know and how might this be seen in our practice? With the notion of cultural intelligence in mind, I have used the research of 3 prominent educators thinking about the words” culturally responsive” as being “culturally intelligent” with a view to determining what cultural intelligence may look like for teachers. It is my contention that cultural intelligence is a collection of attributes, a disposition, which teachers have or may develop, that enables them to manage the diversity that confronts them on a daily basis, ensuring all learners are successful as academically capable and cultural beings. Bishop & Berryman (Culture Speaks, 2003), New Zealand educators and researchers, posit that there is an effective teacher profile for culturally responsive (intelligent) teachers, in particular for Māori learners. The Bishop and Berryman profile for effective teachers has these features. Teachers: •
Reject deficit theorising and have the knowledge and commitment to bring about change in educational achievement
Demonstrate manaakitanga, care for learners as culturally located human beings, building a nurturing and supportive environment and showing integrity, sincerity and respect towards Māori beliefs, language and culture.
Demonstrate Mana motuhake: they care about the performance of learners and their ability to participate fully whilst developing personal and group identity-affirming Māori learners as Māori. Providing contexts for learning where the language, identity and culture of Māori learners and their whānau is affirmed.
Are able to create a secure, managed learning environment supported by sound pedagogical knowledge and routines. They are imaginative in their teaching. (Whakapiringatanga)
Understand and incorporate notions of Wananga, including a rich and dynamic sharing of knowledge and participating with learners and communities in robust dialogue.
Use a range of strategies that allow for interaction and grow and develop relationships and take responsibility for their own learning and their learners’. (Ako)
Have a commonly held and understood goal and vision that promotes, monitors and reflects on outcomes, resulting in improved achievement. (Kotahitanga.)
Geneva Gay (Culturally responsive teaching.2000) an 6 Good Teacher Magazine Term 3 2012
American educator, believes that culturally responsive(intelligent) teaching is the use of cultural knowledge, prior experiences and performance styles of learners to make learning more appropriate and effective. She believes culturally intelligent teachers teach to the whole child. She believes such teachers teach to and through the strengths of learners and attributes these characteristics to her teaching profile. For her, teachers: •
Acknowledge the cultural heritages of the ethnicities of the class. These heritages create legacies that affect learners’ dispositions and attitudes, and are worthy of consideration as content and approaches that may be effective.
Build links between academic abstraction and lived socio-cultural experience; bring meaning between homes and school.
Use a varied range of teaching and learning strategies that cater for all learners’ needs.
Encourage learners to acknowledge and value both their own culture and that of others in the group.
Incorporate, in all curriculum areas, multicultural information, resources and materials. This means the environment will contain books that reflect the ethnicities of the classroom, that maths and other curriculum will provide activities that reflect the socio-cultural realities of the learners. A variety of ways of demonstrating learning may also be evident to work to the strengths of learners.
So, we have two writers from different parts of the world suggesting that teaching in a culturally responsive(intelligent) way is effective for learners. They have suggested a similar profile; it is all encompassing. This profile promotes the notion of academic achievement and excellence as a result of value being placed on acknowledgement and maintenance of the cultural identities and prior knowledge and experiences of all learners. Learners go from their known to the new with support and in safety. Teaching in this way is motivational for learners and enables them to identify with the learning, achieve competence, promote self-efficacy and is thus empowering. This to me is cultural intelligence- the understanding and acknowledgement of culture as a way of viewing the world. It is a way of tapping in to the lives of learners and using the knowledge and understanding, supported by strong teaching pedagogy, to make learning powerful, relevant and focussed. Ira Shor (Empowering education, 1992) is a pioneer in the field of critical education. His work adapts the ideas of Brazilian educator Paulo Freire. Shor believes that education is a learner-centred, critical and democratic pedagogy for studying any subject matter for both self and social change. He says it
takes shape as a dialogue in which teachers and learners mutually investigate everyday themes, social issues, and academic knowledge. Through dialogue and problem-posing, learners become active agents of their learning. This notion fits well with The New Zealand curriculum notions of effective pedagogy and the practice of teaching as inquiry (Pg. 34-5 NZC) and links well with the attributes that a teacher demonstrates that I have, in this article, called culturally intelligent teaching. In review then, a culturally intelligent teacher empowers and motivates learners. This involves learner- centred, socio-culturally appropriate investigation, where positive, respectful relationships and powerful dialogue between teacher and learners are promoted along with explicit, high expectations of success, and for us in New Zealand, this is underpinned by the needs of the New Zealand curriculum. So if we are to be culturally intelligent teachers, what do we need to be, know and do?
What strategies do I use to promote the value of what each member of my class brings to the learning and class?
How do I ensure all learners are able to move from their lived realities to the needs of the curriculum in a seamless way?
Do all of my learners feel that I care about them and have time for them? Do I make time to really talk to them, listening deeply?
Do my learners know exactly what they are learning at a given time to ensure that they are focussed and do they know how they will know when they have control of the concept?
Do my learners understand why they are learning something, what use it may be and how it may be used in other areas of their life and learning? Who uses such skills in their dayto-day life?
Do I really believe that all of my learners can be successful learners accruing skills that will be of life-long use to them no matter their background or ability?
Do I differentiate the learning to ensure all learners can achieve?
What strategies am I using to enable my learners to become responsible for their own learning?
How do I involve families?
1. Know yourself. •
Who am I? What are my fundamental beliefs about teaching? How are these beliefs shown in my daily work? Where did these beliefs come from? Are they still useful and appropriate?
What values do I promote? Where did these values come from? Are they still useful and appropriate? Are any of these negotiable? If so, which and when?
When I react strongly to something, what causes me to do this?
What do I believe about the children in my class/school? What are my expectations of each one of them and why is this?
2. Know your learners. (Have you written a comprehensive class description?) •
Who is in my class - who is in their family? What is the ethnic makeup of the family? What languages do they use at home? With extended family? For religious purposes? What holidays and festivals do they celebrate? Are they involved in a religion? How may this affect their family time? Food? Expectations of others? What work is the family involved in? Who is there for the learners after school… to provide care, listen to homework etc. Whose English at home will allow them to access newsletters, help with homework? (How can you help if this is an issue?)What are their special interestshow can you use this in your teaching?
3. Consider the effective teacher profiles. •
How have I acknowledged the ethnic legacies of my learners? - In my classroom? and in my teaching?
The New Zealand Curriculum effective Pedagogy (pg.34-5) States that teachers must: •
create a supportive learning environment
encourage reflective thought and action
enhance the relevance of new learning
facilitate shared learning
make connections to prior learning and experience
provide sufficient opportunities to learn
inquire into the teaching–learning relationship.
The NZC also states that teachers need to inquire into the impact of their teaching. A reflective teacher will consider: •
What am I doing?
How well am I doing it- what is the impact on learners.
What do the learners say about their learningGood Teacher Magazine Term 3 2012 7
can they talk about their learning?
Using the learners feedback on their learning can I focus the learning more explicitly?
We are all culturally positioned beings, affected by upbringing, religion, training and experiences. It is my contention that in order to be truly effective as teachers we need the attributes which I have described as cultural intelligence. These are personal attributes, a disposition that we demonstrate, not strategies. As teachers we need to notice then include these ways of being into our daily practice. When these attributes become part of who we are and the way we do things around here they are powerful motivators for teaching and learning.
In review then: •
a culturally intelligent teacher empowers and motivates learners,
demonstrates and models the effective learning strategies of a life-long learner and
knows the interests, strengths and areas of concern for learners in their care.
This is about our way of being supporting and strengthening learners’ ways of being through focussed teaching and mentoring.
This involves learner- centred, socio-culturally appropriate investigation, where positive, respectful relationships and powerful dialogue between teacher and learners are promoted along with explicit, high expectations of success,
and for us in New Zealand, this is underpinned by the needs of the New Zealand curriculum.
References: Bishop R,& Berryman, M. (2006) Culture Speaks: Cultural relationships & classroom learning. Huia Publishers, Wellington, Aotearoa New Zealand. Gay, G. (2000) Culturally Responsive Teaching: Theory, Research and practice. New York. Teachers’ College press. Ministry of Education (2007) The New Zealand Curriculum. Wellington. Learning Media. Shor, I. (1992) Empowering education: Critical Teaching for Social Change. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Lyn Pascoe 2012.
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Just to prove that bus shelters and power boxes can be attractive
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International Teaching Experience
Big Gain for New Zealander 10 Good Teacher Magazine Term 3 2012
After teaching in six different schools in seven different countries and spending 18 years exploring the world, Conal Atkins is back home in New Zealand and says he’d do it all again given half the chance. “It has been the most incredible experience in so many ways, personally and professionally,” he says. Currently resettling in Nelson, Conal hopes to be involved in further teaching opportunities and is also offering advice to New Zealand teachers who are considering teaching overseas about the best options available to them. “Many teachers here don’t realise what a huge advantage they have on the international circuit,” says Conal. “Our pedagogy and the flexible, creative approach to teaching and learning that we take for granted here in New Zealand is very much valued by the international schools. Many international schools are very eager to recruit New Zealand teachers because of their skills and also their willingness to be involved in every area of school life; in and out of the classroom. This ‘we can do it’ attitude which is so recognisable in New Zealand teachers is highly valued by international schools.”
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Best practice on a global scale Conal’s own international experience took him as far and wide as Italy, Vietnam, Austria, Luxembourg and Germany, leading many prestigious international schools along the way. H e was the Director of the Vienna International School, Elementary Principal of the United Nations International School in Hanoi, and Head of School at the International School of Bologna as well as Elementary principalships in Luxembourg and Dusseldorf. “Everywhere that I went, I was surrounded by skilled and knowledgeable teachers from many countries. There are very few new teachers in international schools; everywhere I went there was a raft of experienced teachers with huge collective and professional wisdom. Everyone is valued from day one because of this. The chance to share best practice and work alongside very passionate, motivated teachers was a great benefit to my own professional development and yet, not everyone realises these opportunities that are available to them.” There are currently 6,000 international schools in most countries around the world. These schools use English as the language for learning and provide an internationally-oriented learning opportunity for both expatriate and local children.
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“Initially many of my New Zealand colleagues would ask me when I was coming home to get a ‘real’ job,” says Conal. “They had no idea what international schools were or the opportunities available for experienced, English-speaking teachers. The reality is that many international schools are at the forefront of learning, teaching and at the cutting edge of curriculum design and delivery. But International Schools did – and still do – pose huge professional and personal benefits and challenges.”
Developing ESL skills One particular benefit of teaching in an international school, says Conal, was the chance of working in a highly diverse environment, both in terms of language and culture. “In many classes there would be only two or three mother tongue English-speaking students in the class; the vast majority of students were speaking English as their second language. In one graduating class of over 115 students at the Vienna International School, for example, there were only four mother tongue English-speaking students and over 90 different nationalities. This creates an amazing environment in which to teach and learn. Most children at international schools can normally work in two or three different languages. For a
As well as work samples, this display includes photographs showing skill development, new questions and learning activities too. Horley Infant School
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teacher or school leader, this is a huge experience. You learn to modify your teaching skills and become aware of the language and cultural boundaries that you have to be sympathetic to. As an ESL person living in a different country, you gain a new understanding of language acquisition which helps you to relate to these students. This is a huge and necessary skill for New Zealanders, especially for those returning to teach in New Zealand cities where there is such a large and increasingly diversified non-English-speaking population.” Conal’s own children gained enormously from their time as expatriates. “My two boys can speak Dutch, French, German and (one of them) Italian. Although they possibly didn’t appreciate it at the time living and being educated overseas was a life enriching experience for them,” he says. “They are hugely confident, outgoing, independent and critically, willing and able to take risks.
Returning to New Zealand Conal, who is in the process of securing teaching work in the Nelson area, is keeping his international school ties strong by working for the Council of International Schools (CIS) in the role of being an Accreditation Team Leader. He is also now working in an advisory capacity for Teachers International Consultancy (TIC), one of the leading organisations
for teacher and leader recruitment for the international schools market in the world. “Being able to offer first-hand advice and insight into international schools is really helpful for teachers considering this option,” says Conal. “And understanding the specific needs and issues of a New Zealand teacher or school leader is even more beneficial.” One of these issues is the lack of understanding by some of the value of teaching in an international school. “It’s because it’s an unknown quality,” says Conal. A common perception is that teachers returning from overseas after a few years working in international schools can be out of touch with the New Zealand curriculum framework,” he explains. “The reality is that these teachers will have worked with many curricula during their time abroad including such respected curricula as the International Baccalaureate. This gives teachers a great deal of skill in adapting to new and different curriculum needs as well as drawing upon best practice of many different models. In addition, moving between systems, I have found that good teaching and learning or leadership skills transcend curriculum knowledge. International teachers have been forced out of their comfort zone and are usually strong and motivated educators. All these experiences add to your professional repertoire of skills which all have significant valuehighlights for schoolssome in Newof Zealand.” This display the learning
strategies that the children have used and displays key questions to drive the research. British School Of Charlotte Advice from the expert So what advice would Conal give to a teacher considering international teaching? “Be a risk taker, but be one prudently!” he says. “There are many international schools, the vast majority are reputable but you need to do your homework and I would recommend applying through a recognised recruiting agency that can support and advise you. Or, if applying directly to the school, check to see if it holds some type of accredited status. A specialist recruitment agency will also be able to help you through the interview, selection and contract negotiation process too.” As for being a New Zealander abroad, Conal says, “we’re great ambassadors and I’m proud to say that most New Zealanders represent the country very well while working overseas. I’ve never been as nationalistic as when I was living away from New Zealand!” If you would like to talk to Conal about the opportunities of teaching abroad, you can contact him at email@example.com. For more general information about international teaching, you can find a wealth of advice on the TIC website: www.findteachingjobsoverseas.com
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Training the professiona
Wellington is home to one of the southern hemisphere’s leading dance training institutions and an icon of the New Zealand cultural landscape – the New Zealand School of Dance. The New Zealand School of Dance (NZSD) offers full time study in the complimentary disciplines of classical ballet and contemporary dance to prepare dancers for a career in dance performance. Students train full–time for two to three years at the school before leaving to begin careers as professional dancers. Successful students graduate with a certificate or diploma in dance performance (levels 6 and 7 on the National Qualifications Framework). 16 Good Teacher Magazine Term 3 2012
al dancers of tomorrow
The New Zealand School of Dance
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The New Zealand School of Dance has a 45-year history and a reputation for excellence. Many dancers trained at the school have gone on to dance in top ballet and contemporary dance companies around the world. Entry to the school is by audition only, with students entering full-time study between the ages of 16 â€“ 20. Experience in dance as well as the physical aptitude for a career in dance are among the criteria considered. 18 Good Teacher Magazine Term 3 2012
In addition to its full-time tertiary programmes the school provides a number of aspirational programmes for school-aged dancers. These programmes nurture talented youngsters through intensive training that runs alongside learning with their own local dance teacher.
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Special classes and immersion in the schoolâ€™s courses give dancers first-hand experience of the NZSDâ€™s teachers and training style. Good Teacher Magazine Term 3 2012 21
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The school also runs an annual Winter School, incorporating classes in ballet, contemporary dance and hip hop, and every second year the Tu Move programme, introducing Maori and Pacific Island boys to contemporary dance through hip hop and kapa haka. Combining both artistic exploration and employment prospects, training as a professional dancer is an exciting possibility for those lucky enough to have the chance.
www.nzschoolofdance.ac.nz All New Zealand School of Dance Photographs: Stephen Aâ€™Court
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A Little Bird Told Me... Are you on Twitter? Please tweet for gifted... www.worldgifted2013.com
One of the biggest issues facing educators is that of making the best use possible of social networking to communicate and share what is happening to meet the needs of gifted students. If each person reading this undertook to tell at least two other people about the World Conference on Gifted and Talented Education being held in Auckland at the Sky City Convention Centre (AUGUST 5-9, 2013), and those two undertook to tell two more and so on, it would not be long before the ripple effect would have engulfed whole flocks. If each flock continued to use its social networking contacts to pass the word on... then I wonder how long it would take for the word to spread to all corners of the globe? Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could buck the international trend to focus all our woes on current economic ills and simply spread a word of encouragement and sunshine by encouraging everyone to
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Visit the conference website and register for updates to the ‘Soul of Giftedness ‘ conference being held here in New Zealand in August next year. www.worldgifted2013.com
Register to attend and consider submitting an abstract proposal to be a presenter. Both abstract proposals and conference registrations are now open and further information is available online.
Elaine Le Sueur
take advantage of this amazing one-off opportunity to use your school’s professional development budget to create links with a the wider educational community and have face to face interaction with like minded people.
engage in master classes with international experts (you can choose two classes from the selection) http://www. worldgifted2013.com/master-classes/
visit local schools in action
participate in the post conference learning adventures
listen to world authorities in the field of giftedness and talent
A little bird once told me that it only takes one to start the ball rolling. Are you that one? It’s easy. Pass this message on to your flock and ask each little bird to spread the word. And thank you on behalf of tall poppies, rising stars, high flyers, creative thinkers, bright sparks, odd bods, gifted and talented students and their advocates everywhere.
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Dear Teacher, Visit my website and register for your FREE resource to use in your classroom with your able students. No strings attached. It is my thanks to you for taking action and following through on this flier. If you would like heaps more ideas and strategies for differentiating your lessons to meet the needs of these students, check out my new teacher manuals, available from www.thinkshop.org.nz
Check out the LSSNA (Le Sueur Student Needs Analysis) and the link to University on wheels for even more help. www.universityonwheels.org.nz Thank you for your interest. From Elaine
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Something Really Different There’s an unparalleled opportunity coming up that is different from most of the things offered to you as teachers/parents/ grandparents/ families/ advocates of gifted/ talented/ able students – For the first time ever, next year will see New Zealand hosting the Biennial World Conference on Gifted and Talented Children. Normally held in Europe, Asia or the States, this prestigious conference will bring world leaders in research and practice in this field and hundreds of delegates from many countries to New Zealand. The conference committee is asking us to think back to our own schooldays. Some of us were lucky. We had teachers who understood how we learned, challenged us and encouraged us to get to where we are now. Some of us were not so lucky. We remember schooldays of frequent boredom, sarcastic teachers, “put-downs” when we asked too many questions, peers who called us nerds, and worse. All of us will also remember schoolfellows who were at least as bright if not brighter than we were ourselves, yet who somehow never quite made it. When New Zealand teachers do well at encouraging able and creative young minds and imaginations, they do extremely well, rivalling the world’s best. But our education system does not automatically achieve this. The majority of teachers still do not have adequate training in recognising or catering for their more able pupils. There is only miniscule support for professional development in this area, and virtually none for research. Too many of our most able youngsters still simply do not get the learning opportunities they need.
Why should this matter to you? And exactly what can you do about it? These youngsters are our future. They’ll be in our research teams, our teaching teams, our management teams, our workforce. They’ll work with us in our developmental projects. They’ll look to us as mentors, excite us with their own originality, and help take the next steps forward in our fields. They are essential to the future of the fields we are each individually committed to. Or at least that’s what should happen. But for too many, it won’t, unless our education system and our educators learn to value these students and develop insight in meeting their learning needs. This conference has the potential to be a powerful change agent in reaching towards such a goal. It will expose New Zealand teachers, not just to a solitary visiting expert, but to a wealth of such expertise, as well as to the best of international practice and to the experience of hundreds of colleagues from many different countries. It will also shed new light for many of our teachers on the quality research and practical work that does actually happen in New Zealand itself. Good Teacher Magazine Term 3 2012 27
For many, this conference experience could and should be pivotal in bringing about new awareness and new skills.
This is where you come in again! The New Zealand Planning Committee is required to raise around $200,000 as its contribution towards meeting the cost of the conference. The conference committee is asking for your help in raising this sum. It is a scary amount, but with your help we are confident that it can be achieved. The organisers are appealing to your understanding of able youngsters, and to your recognition of the link between their futures and yours. You can contribute through direct donation, specific sponsorship, or as exhibitors for those of us in business. As a mark of the Organising Committee’s appreciation, everyone who makes a donation to, or registers for the Conference, will be entered into the draw to win one of two double passes to the Conference dinner, seated at the VIP table. All donations received before 31 July 2012 will receive two entries into the draw. From 1 August 2012, entries will be limited to one per person. The draw will take place one month before the Conference with the winner announced soon after. Please generously help this good cause. Every donation, no matter how large or small has the potential to make a difference. Donations can be made directly on the website. For more information…….: www.worldgifted2013.com Thank you so much. Elaine Le Sueur & Rosemary Cathcart Conference Co-convenors on behalf of the NZ organising committee
To enquire further about sponsorship opportunities, please contact our Sponsorship manager, Leny Woolsey on +64 9 360 1240 or firstname.lastname@example.org or Elaine Le Sueur - Conference co-convenor) email@example.com +64 9 239 2852 or +64 7 825 1217
We would love to hear from you!
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Where there’s muck, there’s brass (Old Yorkshire saying)
Laurie Loper Psychologist As another old adage has it, there›s many a slip twixt cup and lip. So it is with learning. Much creativity by many dedicated persons – putting energy and commitment into their teaching – fails to bring them the rewards they deserve. Being conditioned to a situation of disparate outcomes, teachers accept this as par for the course and just keep on going, picking up their positives when and where they can. They deserve better. Doing it how they do it, though, makes it plain hard work. Would that there was a way such industry and devotion could be better rewarded. But are they not their own worst enemies? For the most part, those taking on what›s so often said to be the toughest job in the world come armed with everything they think they need. Others think that›s how it should be too, so teacher training addresses those aspects thought to be vital. However, in that training, anything pertaining to the act of learning itself never features. Of course, various well used, but belief-based learning approaches do feature, getting recycled according to the fashion of the moment. Yet the learning act is taken so much for granted that few, if any, see it as something to be included. Or even sees it›s non inclusion as being something that works so much against what›s being striven so hard for by all. Or recognises that it›s omission is the culpable factor in the efficacy battle currently being fought – under increasing political heat – in our schools. To those who might regard such talk as negative, scaremongering, or demeaning of what teachers contribute, I would contend otherwise. There is just so much non comprehension of the situation in which education currently sits, efficacy wise, that it›s going to take the power of both a tsunami and the combined seismic jolts of Christchurch›s earthquakes to get even near an acknowledgement there might be something in what I say. What it might take to get some forward action here, I struggle to imagine. In any event it›s going to take at least a proper appreciation of the gravity of the situation being faced, even then.
There are at least fifteen very well researched reasons why I take this view. Even the amount of space my generous editor accords me, would hardly run to traversing them all, so I›ve got to be selective. Besides, not being able to perform in person to strut my stuff, as would an orator, I couldn›t guarantee I could hold your attention for the time it would take. So that leaves me having to rely on my limited literary capabilities to sexy up as best I can this threat I see that›s caused by not taking into account the act of learning. Albeit, doing so restricting myself to two examples only. Fortunately, in tackling the task, I have some recent experience I can draw upon so that what I›m about to relate has a more credible basis than something just dreamed up. So back to that matter of selection. The two I›ve chosen to parade – out of the aforementioned fifteen – were two of those I presented at a hui recently. Though constituting not even a fifth of my reasons, I have confidence they will carry my argument. They carried the bulk of my argument at the hui mentioned, I›m confident they›ll carry it for me here. That hui addressed issues germane to this article – inefficacy and the damage it›s causing the progress of all students, but Maori in particular – so deserves mention. It was attended by a group of iwi educationalists, prominent people in the educational affairs of their tribe, some teachers involved in the creation of an innovative, multi age school, and a representative from the Ministry of Education. One proposal discussed would see a dedicated earning fund created to resource, in perpetuity, a programme of whole school change in the direction of greatly improved acrossthe-board learning efficacy. Another concerned a radical review of the iwi›s long term education strategy, again putting efficacy as highest priority, albeit translating that into a culturally acceptable context. Back to the first of my tsunami-like shots across the bows of non comprehension of the efficacy issue, I
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introduce a notional concept (see below) that depicts – in grapho-diagrammatic form – the nature and size of the efficacy hole in which education languishes. As will become apparent from the description of the Notional Diagram that follows, there›s a magnitude to this alarming situation – to which most everyone is oblivious – that tempts one to lapse into a negative mind set about it. Let›s not allow that to happen, lets acknowledge – as implicit in the title of this piece – that what it reveals constitutes a tremendous opportunity. Describing the diagram, it’s about efficacy and about how much of the capacity to learn of the nation›s young is (or rather isn›t) being developed. It›s also notional, that is, speculative, but judging by the responses given it so far, people appear to think it mimics reality all too faithfully. The diagram makes use of the Nuthall finding that almost all students have a remarkably similar capacity to learn. It’s also two diagrams in one, which makes for some complications in explaining it. Bear with me. In scenario one, the left side shows the efficacy situation in relation an inefficient learning regime (such as the one we have). In scenario two, the right side shows how much worse the same efficacy situation would be in an efficient learning regime (which, of course, we don’t have). The vertical axis on the left side represents the amount of learning capacity there is to develop, under an inefficient learning regime. The 100% limit (depicted as a flat line graph) represents how much of their capacity to learn top students develop in that inefficient regime, and, of course, how much the rest of the students do not. The horizontal axis represents the total student population and the graph line immediately above it that looks like a drawn out, inverted letter «s», represents each individual student›s percentage of developed learning capacity. Viewing things now from the right hand side, notice that the 100% limit has been set 30% higher than its counterpart. That›s to accommodate the fact that our top learners, always learning in a proven-inefficient learning environment, are by definition, under performing. Sure, we don’t know by how much, but what we do know is that wen groups of top learners are «hot-housed» together, they individually demonstrate increased capabilities and achievement.
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Adding 30% to the top line may seem excessive, but as the extent to which capacities can rise to isn›t known, anything less might just as well be an underestimate. So what does it all mean. Accepting the argument, measured against the limit that pertains in an inefficient learning regime, the proportion of learning capacity that›s not developed by the nation›s young (lowest green area) is maybe 40 %. Against the extended limit, and adding the two green areas together, it›s abundantly clear that more than 50% of the nation›s learning capacity is not being developed. We can only speculate about how much more, but even by this rough and ready summing up of the whole efficacy situation, the news isn›t good. Sombre and as unpalatable as that information may be, that›s by no means the end of the bad news. Remembering that virtually all the students being discussed here have a “remarkably similar” capacity to learn, the consequences of this lack of capacity development are not evenly borne. In fact the way it works there›s a discriminatory effect. This is manifested in two ways. Firstly, looking now where the two dashed graph lines intersect with the inverted «s» shaped graph line, whilst in the inefficient scenario only about 35 % of students appear to be suffering the loss of 50% of their capacity to learn, in actual fact, as shown in the efficient scenario, it›s double that, about 70% are in that same boat. Say this slowly and think about it, 70% of students have more than half their capacity to learn undeveloped.
Note that overall, it looks very likely that only half the capacity to learn of the nation’s young is being developed. While schools are surely aware that the lowestperforming 35% mentioned are struggling, there›s no way they would be aware that the rest that make up that 70% are in trouble too. For those
better-performing 35% of students would likely be considered by their schools to be doing okay. Yet they›re only firing on half their academic cylinders. The discrimination alluded to can arise if schools, worried about their respective reputations, think those students are doing well enough, so it then becomes okay to channel resources into their top students.
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Switching attention to the plight of the muchdiscussed bottom 20% of school achievers. Their mountain to climb to claim what is rightfully theirs, on average, amounts to something like 75% of their learning capacity. Catching up that amount, off such a low base, looks a pretty hopeless task to me. However their situation is viewed, they are being discriminated against by the vagaries of an inefficient learning regime. They are suffering a degree of non development of their capacity to learn that is out of all proportion to what other students suffer. If there was ever one single reason to dump that inefficient learning process in favour of the introduction of an efficient one, this would be it. If there was ever a reason to deploy a universal learning support skill›s resource into all homes so the parents of the bottom fifth would have it to use and to avert the problems the bottom fifth have faced to this day, this would be it. But that›s another story and I must not digress. How are you making out following my drift? Bone up on that diagram, it’s full of questions and
answers. Repeating what was said in the introduction to this Notional Diagram discussion, the magnitude of the undeveloped capacity to learn presents a huge opportunity for development. It could be that for the same teaching input, double the current learning output might be obtained. Get set now to take on board my number two selection, the Sink In Diagram. The Sink In Diagram (see below) The Sink In Diagram was developed to sheet home how the Nuthall learning rule works and to outline the implications it has for the learning of new topics/ideas/ concepts (tics), an everyday experience for most students everywhere. Nuthall discovered this rule – perhaps it might be truer to say it discovered him – through analysing the huge amount data his research method produced. Once a pattern began emerging, he worked on it till eventually he had something that was reliable enough to be a predictive tool in his research. No one else
The Sink In Diagram explains how this rule works. Imagine a long necked glass beaker with its bowl and neck stuffed full of cotton wool. During the stuffing two rubber washers are placed in the neck, effectively cutting the length of the beaker into three sections. These washers each have a small hole drilled in them that would allow any liquid – poured in at the top – to pass slowly down to the second section and eventually to the bowl section below. The liquid represents the new information, the three sections then are the three processing experiences of it, the bowl being where the new information is retained and integrated with all of the other properly processed information already contained there. If the rule is adhered to and the time intervals properly observed, that’s how the process would work. If the rule is not observed, here’s what happens. The first experience of the new tic provides only enough information to fill the first section but it is all absorbed by the processing that occurs in there (that is, it get sucked up by the cotton wool) and there isn’t enough free to make it into the next section through the barrier (the washer). Until and only if there is more information added, will enough get through into the second section, and so on into the bowl section. Should there be no further inflow of information to follow the first, that which is already there stagnates (evaporates) and eventually disappears. It’ll stay active in it’s partially processed state long enough for a child to answer questions or be examined on it, giving the false impression that this tic has been successfully learnt. In this state, aspects of the learning experience may retained for some time but what doesn’t happen, is that the rest of the processing that needs to be done can’t happen.
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has ever done such a thing before. Remember, all this is learning that concerns understanding and sense making, it doesn›t concern things like physical skill learning, practical performance skill learning, rote learning, reading practice, and such like, especially where the intention is the perfection of the skills involved. This describes how the Nuthall learning rule works. The rule says that in the learning of any new topics, ideas and concepts (tics), it is necessary to experience the full information about them three times, each time, after the first, must occur at two day intervals. The information doesn’t have to be in the same form each time, nor all at once. What matters is that the full information has to be experienced each time at or near that 2 day interval. Nuthall found that if a new tic was learnt according to this rule, 80 - 85 per cent of learners would be able to both recall the information and make use of it 12 months on. Considering how most assessment is done, that›s setting a very high criteria. Even if a second inflow of information were to occur outside of the two day limit, nothing can happen as there won’t be enough properly processed information left to ensure the second stage processing can be completed. Were there to be a second inflow inside the two day limit, there certainly would be enough to meet the second section’s requirements, but since what’s been carried down from the first section isn’t properly processed, the exercise has become pointless, the processing having become corrupted. Were there to be a third inflow of the information, it would carry the corrupted processing into the bowl area, causing at least, confusion, and of course miss-learning.
The processing needs to be done in accordance with the rule. It’s anyone’s guess how much learning that goes on that doesn’t meet the conditions of the Nuthall rule. One-shot learning falls into that category. One very reputable study, by Bennett, et al in Lancaster in 1984, in reading and maths tasks, found that on average, 6 and 7 year olds,were only given a bit over one go at learning each new thing. The obvious criticism this rule has to contend with is that the adoption of it is going to slow down learning and so reduce the amount of subjects/topics that can be covered. That might seem likely but given there’s such a lot of time involved with learning that’s improperly processed anyhow, if all that was reduced to zero, there would be plenty of time for properly processed learning to be undertaken. Taken together with the other efficiencies that could be achieved, through, for instance, the use of an efficient learning model, this rule could play a real part in improving every students’ outcomes. Putting those two concepts together, it’s surely impossible to support the argument that the learning process as we know it, and as it plays out in classrooms across the nation every day, is up to the task. There’s no need for me to seek out those other thirteen causes of learning inefficiency to bolster my argument, a disaster of greater size is still a disaster. It is surely impossible to defend that “inherently inefficient” learning process to which the entire student population is subjected daily, throughout all their learning lives. Any nation of sane people would do something about it, the first step surely being to admit a problem exists. You would think that the prospect of being able to mine such a huge amount of undeveloped capacity to learn would be incentive enough to get something happening.
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he Story Of Annabelle’s Art Work Teacher: Ivanna Shore Artist: Annabelle About Ivanna: I am a teacher at Explorers Early Learning Centre in Hamilton.
Explorers Explorers is a creative and stimulating learning environment that enhances opportunities for a child’s social development and education. Our educational philosophy (The Reggio Approach) is based on observing the children’s interests and developing a curriculum around those interests. This requires detailed documentation and planning by our collaborative team of passionate and qualified teachers to ensure that your child is guided through an educational experience that provides deeper learning and gives opportunities for literacy and numeracy. Project work and exploration of the arts are a key part of our curriculum and allows us to carry out in-depth exploration of particular topics of interest. Please feel free to browse our blog and enjoy the children’s work. If you have any additional queries please contact us.
As a recent graduate from the University of Waikato, being in a Reggio Emilia inspired centre is an absolute privilege simply on the basis that the Reggio approach has similar views on how I perceive children. The view that I have of the child is that they are seen as a young being with limitless potential that is waiting to be fostered. The reason for the ‘self-portrait’ provocation was to gain an insight to what the children know and how they perceive themselves. In addition I wanted to encourage children to express themselves using a certain media. Reading some literature on children’s art (self-portraits) I felt the need to test out an art experience and be confident to do so. From this experience, I felt that I was learning alongside the child, by asking questions and giving ideas to provoke in-depth thinking, recording the child’s voice and taking snap shots to record the magic. A sense of achievement is received when I was able to reflect on my teaching practice, write a learning story for Annabelle and have positive feedback from family. This teaching practice is something that I encourage all beginning teachers to do as the sense of pride of Annabelle’s family is immeasurable, the information collected from this art experience will assist myself and others in further exploration.
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Discovering Yourself Teacher: Ivanna On this particular afternoon I decided to provoke the children to think about themselves, and one great way of doing this with art is to do self portraits. I set up the provocation on an outside table using water colours, black felt, mirrors and white paper. I decided to paint a picture of myself to give an indication of what the provocation was all about. It wasn’t long when Annabelle excitedly approached me and asked if she could paint a picture. I gave her the tools she needed and said, “Go for it Annabelle, look at the mirror to help you”.
Annabelle smiled and started to observe herself in the mirror, she began to draw her own masterpiece.
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Annabelle would often look up at herself in the mirror and then look back down to draw such great detail. I asked, “What can you see in the mirror Annabelle?” “I have nose” she replied giggling as she drew it on the page. “Oh and I have glasses I cannot forget my glasses” as she drew them around her eyes. Annabelle started to draw her smile that had teeth, a circle for a face, and long lines for her long hair. Not to mention adding a body, with arms, hands and fingers.
I was amazed with the attention to detail Annabelle put into her work, plenty of time and effort - she really is a young artist. From the way she holds a felt to a paint brush in a very skilful and controlled way. I get the impression that Annabelle has strong sense of identity and is quite confident on who she as she is able to draw herself very enthusiastically. Annabelle you are so proud of your art work and equally as proud are your family and teachers, well done keep up all the great work. One day perhaps we may see more of your artwork on display in an art museum, you never know you just maybe the next Van Gogh.
After Annabelle had drawn herself using the black felt. She decided to use water colours and add colour to the page appropriately. Together we discussed what colour hair and eyes we have, and that is why she decided to use a copper colour for her blonde hair.
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Breakfasts, fetes and French days entertain primary school pupils Food from around the world was on the menu for pupils at Westrop Primary School as part of an Olympic inspired breakfast. Pupils enjoyed dishes from the United Kingdom, France, New Zealand and Canada as part of the event at the school in Highworth. It was just one of the treats pupils across the area took part in, with pupils at Holy Rood Junior School enjoying a French day and Tregoze Primary School pupils holding a summer fete. Heidi De Wolf, Key Stage 1 coordinator at Westrop Primary School, said: “Each class has chosen a country and researched what people from that country have for breakfast. “Based on the research they have created a menu to make for the Olympic breakfast and have invited friends, family and the community to join us and help celebrate the Olympics. “This is just one of the events we have planned during our whole school topic about the Olympics and we look forward to welcoming the local community to celebrate with us.” Carole Cottrell, one of the teaching assistants in the school, headed the organisation of the event and
gained huge community support; securing generous donations from local Highworth suppliers including Andrews Quality Meats, Tesco, The Co-operative, Highworth Emporium and Brooks of Highworth. Reception and Year 1 and 2 classes made a United Kingdom breakfast including bacon rolls, raspberry muffins with raspberries from the school’s vegetable patch, homemade jam and homemade bread. Year 3 and 4 classes researched France and provided croissants and baguettes with ham and cheese. Year 5 made cinnamon toast with maple syrup to represent Canada Year 6 classes, who have been looking at New Zealand, made Kiwi jam and Maori toast. Pupils at Holy Rood Junior School swapped their school uniforms for French inspired costumes yesterday. It was part of their French themed day, which saw them enjoying French bread pizza, french fries, petits pois and choux buns for lunch. Headteacher Tony McAteer said: “International days are important to us because we are a very multicultural school and we have got about 18 different nationalities represented within the school. “If children find out about a culture and why they do certain things they are more likely to have respect for that culture.” Damien Miles and Ben Stratford enjoy an Olympic breakfast at Westrop Primary
2012 in NewsBy Emma Dunn
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Not a common sight in New Zealand but a popular view at the Fieldays with both young and old were the police officers and their beautiful horses... crowd control couldnâ€™t be better than with these. Good Teacher Magazine Term 3 2012 39
One Man’s Dream and the Ruben Our intrepid sailor determined to tick his lifelong dream off is ‘bucket list’ continues his journey with the Ruben Jane.. 1st June. Got up. Spent the day on the beach. Went to bed. Well we all had a BBQ on the beach with a beautiful sunset silhouetting the boats. Raced back to the boats when a rain shower came through. It was only short-lived. It was about this stage that some of the skippers started to make moving-on noises because the good weather was going to come to an end sometime. For crying out loud - here we are in paradise and already people are discontented. 2nd June. Spent a lazy morning on the boat catching up with writing letters and diaries. In the afternoon Laura and I went to a birthday party and late in the afternoon Joy, Laura and I went for a swim off the boat but didn’t stay in long as it was so cold (26°C) Otherwise it was a relaxing day. Tonight, on John’s sked we heard a boat half way from New Zealand to Fiji with a very frightened crew. They had been followed all day by a fishing boat which would not respond to radio calls. Every time they turned one way the other boat would do likewise; when they turned the other way the other boat would follow. The yacht was obviously afraid of pirates. They asked for an hourly sked but after several hours cancelled it as the other vessel had turned and disappeared over the horizon. We realise there are pirates over near Indonesia but this is a little close to home. It is scary when the nearest vessel is over 70 miles away. 3rd June. Motored with ome of the others to Pangai which is the main town in the Ha’apai group. It was about 5 miles. We had some discussion on the way as to which marker was the correct one to go around on the entrance to Pangai Harbour. There was a cube of concrete on the end of one reef and a green light with a red piece of paint about the same size underneath it on the other side of the channel. We went around the green one keeping it to starboard. The entrance is very narrow but the harbour is relatively wide. Spent a few hours in and around the town. It is a very dirty place - more so than Nuku’alofa. There are plenty of rubbish bins but there is only minimal rubbish in them and heaps of litter within 3 metres of them. Obviously their motto is ‘at it not in it’. The locals have everything they need. We all went to the Police Station to clear in. It is just like a 10 minute form. Steve threatened to put Laura in jail and the policeman grinned. He is the first official 40 Good Teacher Magazine Term 3 2012
I have seen in Tonga who looked happy. For a population of 8000 people there are at least 4 policemen, one car, one motorbike and one launch. Most people who are in prison are there for driving too fast and killing pigs that wander on the road. They are not allowed to escape but they are permitted to have visitors so almost every night there is a party in the prison. We also went to the post office to send letters home. I then went a country mile down the road to the hospital to check it out. Spoke to the senior medical man for a few minutes. Their emergency department is a name only. In it they have oxygen. I forgot to ask whether it is bottled or piped. They have a female ward, an obstetric ward and a male ward. I also forgot to ask about paediatrics. Just as I was hopping into Plain Jane to return to the mother ship a young lady from the wharf asked me to fill in a form with one line, giving boat details. The preceding page had Elyxir on it. I thought we were getting close to their trail until I read the date. According to the book, only 6 yachts have called here since October. I think that it is more likely to be sloppy bookkeeping especially seeing there didn’t appear to be many entries before that. On the return trip to Uoleva after exiting the reef we raised the drifter and in 20 knots from the starboard quarter we made good time until we rounded the reef off the mouth of the bay. We were accompanied by dolphins for part of the way. These are the first we have seen on the voyage so far. 4th June. The outboard hasn’t been working since Pangai so Laura and I rowed ashore, burnt the rubbish and repaired the outboard. I think it was the float in the carburettor sticking. I took the cover off it, hit the barrel hard, shook the whole motor and put it back together losing 2 spring washers in the sand in the process. After lunch Rebecca had a sleep, Laura came and played on the sand while Joy, Susannah and I went snorkelling with Murray, Donna, Steve and Claire. Saw some amazingly coloured fish but the coral was disappointing. Joy found a big anchor in the sand but it was too big for our use so we just photographed it. I cooked tea (pancakes). After tea Rebecca, Susannah and I went over to Delphis and saw a promotional video of Steve’s car racing career as well as ‘Dirty Rotten Scoundrels’. It’s bizarre to have modcons like videos in a setting like this. 5th June. Rebecca and I went to the backpackers resort to do the washing. It involved drawing water from the well, then washing and rinsing the clothes in tubs. Flies
n Jane around the feet made it uncomfortable. George, a Czech refugee domiciled in Canada, came for a long chat. He was a retired engineer. If he can’t get a ride with Sonny I offered him a ride to Pangai with us tomorrow. Mid-afternoon Joy and I went for a walk along the beach. We startled some large calves. I went back and picked up the girls and we all went snorkelling. All went well until a local boat came along and dropped some of the crew from Orka (another boat anchored in the bay) on the beach. Laura thought it was a shark so she swam quickly towards shore. We were all pretty cold by this time so we headed back to the boat where we had a quiet evening. 6th June. The wind got up in the night and this morning Hornpipe, an American boat which had summered over in Tauranga Bridge Marina came into the bay. Laura and I went ashore to burn the rubbish then we went to see them. They had had 35 knots gusting 38 overnight... George must have got a ride because he wasn’t on the beach at 1000 hours when we departed. In blustery conditions we motored to Pangai taking 2 hours to make the 5 mile trip. Laura and I went into town to see if Ian and Barbara Hill were there but apparently they were at Foa Island which is connected to the northern part of the island that Pangai is on by a narrow sandy isthmus. We did look up Ofa Fakahau, chief fisheries inspector for the Ha’apais. He chatted to us for an hour or so while his wife went and bought us all a bottle of coke each. We then went to visit the Reverend Shirley Baker’s grave. He was an early missionary and political figure in Tonga including being their first Prime Minister. I took a photo of his statue which probably pleased him very much. In preparation for this trip I had done some extensive reading but only recently did I realise that he was a male. When we eventually returned to the boat Rebecca and I went back to the wharf in choppy seas to get rid of some rubbish and to get some water from the unlocked tank on the wharf. Joy was baking her second lot of bread in 2 days. We found an Australian yachtie on the wharf and chatted for a while. He is awaiting boat parts from New Zealand. Earlier, on the way in to shore Laura and I had spoken to an American skipper and his wife. He had seen Ruben Jane in Auckland. He said we could stay inside the breakwater but as our anchor was down firmly and holding and we are only staying overnight we stayed put. We had a very uncomfortable night with the wind blowing strongly and the warp creaking on the bollard. During the evening I played with the GPS putting in waypoints. At about this stage Joy started getting worried about the next stage of our trip after hearing of others experiences.
7th June. Motored from Pangai to Foa Island in very gusty conditions. Again the wind was on the nose most of the way 18-28 knots. It is quite a long trek out of Pangai Harbour heading N and navigation was not helped by one of the channel markers being AWOL! I was up the mast and we had deep water all through the channel which was fairly obvious. Off the causeway between Lifuka Island and Foa Island the depth sounder started giving bizarre readings. We eventually concluded that it was caused by water turbulence as our charted position gave us deep water. Coming in the entrance by the village of Faleloa the rain came in again. Fortunately I saw it coming so I had my rain gear on but with wind and driving rain in the face it certainly made it difficult to see bommies with the Polaroid’s on. We anchored in a very sandy area but when we came to rest we had the anchor of Delphis under our keel. Later Murray dived and checked all the anchors (he had dragged last night). Ours was firmly embedded but he made it more so. We spent the rest of the day relaxing on board. 8th June. Spent another lazy morning on the boat then collected everyone’s rubbish and went ashore to burn it. Delphis and Episode are here too. Then Joy, Susannah and I went for a snorkel. I spied a blue, black and white fish. Rebecca brought me the camera so I could photograph it. Very difficult because it was very flat and whenever I approached it would turn to face me and instead of brilliant colours I would get a thin blue strip. Hope a good shot eventuates. Also photographed 3 mushroom shaped pieces of coralblue, yellow and pink, in the same shot. 9th June. Joy and I walked around the N tip of Foa Island to check on the swell. The sea and the wind appear to be decreasing. There is still a wind warning out for all of Tonga. I snorkelled over several bommies this afternoon but found them fairly boring; even one I had previously investigated but it didn’t have the exciting colours of coral or the abundance of fish life it had 2 days ago. Good Teacher Magazine Term 3 2012 41
The sky has been overcast and the weather is not conducive to doing much outdoors. Some islanders in a boat stopped by on their way to Ha’ano Island and gave us some mangoes and limes. We had been laughing at the way they go to town with the pigs in a cage on their boats. We took a photo of them before they came to us. We were a little embarrassed at their kindness and we felt a little guilty about our earlier mirth. 10th June. Well its 10am NZ time (11am Tonga). The sea temperature is 26°C and my fingers are all wrinkled from being so long in the water. No, that’s not sea water; it’s dishwater. I have just done a ginormous load of dishes and cleaned the stove. Joy baked some more bread yesterday using a new recipe she got from Donna. Rebecca cooked tea so there were a lot of dishes from that. Then they had the gall to say I hadn’t cleaned them properly. I only dirtied a few. Motored off our anchorage heading for Ha’ano Island just a bull’s roar N. Joy did a good job on the helm as we had only limited turning room with Delphis, Episode, a bommie and a reef as well as an awkward wind to contend with. Motoring S parallel with the shore inside the reef was no problem but going out through the marked channel was difficult with the glare of the sun on the water. I was up in the rigging. The girls gave Joy a scare when they said we were heading for rocks close to the surface in the channel. The clarity of the water made 50 feet look very shallow - AWESOME! Our GPS sailplane is up and running so after the first waypoint we raised the main to test the conditions for the night. In 18 knots NE with a sharp chop we made 4 knots towards Ha’ano Island. The purpose of going to Ha’ano is to give us an anchorage we can leave in the dark as we intend leaving for the Vava’u’s tonight and trying to get out through the reef passage at Foa in the dark would be folly. Dropped the main and motored in to our anchorage off the mushroom rock. The cruising guide is particularly unhelpful at this anchorage. The narrow channel in by the mushroom rock is particularly narrow; the off-lying rocks to the S don’t appear to exist; There is a reef on the N side which is poorly charted. Our final approach was done with me up in the rigging again. I see a pattern forming here. When I called for volunteers nobody else seemed keen to go aloft. In the sunlight all the salient features were readily identified. We anchored after the water shallowed to 26 feet, then went to 36 feet and we came to rest in 30 feet. However our chain snagged a bommie. This made the anchorage secure but as we were leaving in darkness I did not relish the prospect of going down for a nocturnal sortie to free it. Our second attempt was more successful. Joy and I took Plain Jane ashore and snorkelled off the beach. It was very shallow for some distance offshore. I was concerned that I would graze my chest. Don’t know how Joy managed. The snorkelling 42 Good Teacher Magazine Term 3 2012
was the best I’d seen with some big drop-offs. I was impressed by some fish which could swim along and then hang motionless. By the time we got cold the tide had come in a few inches so it was easier getting back to the beach. When I awoke at 2230 hours the full moon was coming up behind the palm trees. It made a beautiful sight and we should have taken a photo of it. It’s a long way to go back for another shot. We could see the bottom clearly in the moonlight at 35-40 feet. Kept a good lookout as we motored out on a compass course of 200°M. Once we were in deep water it was quite eerie almost expecting to see some bommies although the chart said there were no dangers. Joy says that if we have another rough trip she’s flying home, so the pressure is on to make a good call. Episode and Delphis are going to follow us tomorrow. After 5 minutes we were clear of the reef but I motored for another 10 minutes on the same course for safety’s sake. Raised the sails and turned on to our next waypoint off the N tip of Ha’ano Island. When we were abeam the light I called Delphis as arranged to inform them of the sea conditions. The plan was for Rebecca to take the helm for a couple of hours. However we came out from behind the protection of the reef which extends 1/2 mile N of the island. For the next 1/2 hour it was uncomfortable. I had one reef in the main and the No.4 up. By this time Rebecca had gone below and Susannah was in the cockpit. We had the auto helm on. Joy asked to go back but it was too dangerous to navigate around the reefs in the dark so we continued. 11th June. The wind decreased and stayed 14-20 knots for the remainder of the trip. Also the swell, which was just forward of the beam, became more regular and comfortable. After several hours Joy went below to sleep and I stayed in the cockpit enjoying the sailing. The full moon lent a sparkle to the sea. It looked good to see the swells marching off in the moonlight. I sang. The rest of the family told me later that they had heard me. All my family say that I’m so good at singing that I should be on TV - then they could turn me off. About 0400 hours I called Rebecca on watch and went below for a sleep after giving instructions to call me in an hour or earlier if necessary. When I emerged 1 1/2 hours later Joy was at the helm and Rebecca was dozing below. Our speed was constantly over 6 knots. Susannah joined me as Joy retired and we watched the sunrise which was only moderately spectacular. An hour later Susannah said she thought she could see land. I deliberately had not looked so that she would be the first to see it and when I did look it was plain on the horizon. She said it reminded her of McDonalds because the twin peaks looked like the Golden Arches. In the Vava’u’s they have a lovely system of identifying most of the anchorages - by numbering them. I think this is to avoid any confusion with local names by the charter boat fleets. The voyage had taken a shade over 11 hours (I had predicted 10). We had also chosen the best weather window of the ICA
boats - the boats from Foa Island got hammered the next day with 35-40 knot winds. The purpose of leaving during the night is to ensure ease of landfall in a strange place during daylight hours. We arrived before midday. Rebecca immediately swam over to Sanity. Tony and Yvonne invited Susannah and Laura to accompany them to an adjacent island where a lot of the fleet were having a lesson on sextant use. Joy and I had some time to ourselves as we hadn’t had much sleep during the night. When the children came back I was fast asleep. They said a film crew had arrived with some models to have a photo session. One of the models was topless and near the sextant class. So much for searching for heavenly bodies. Late in the afternoon Royal Eagle, a private cruise ship arrived in the anchorage for the night. It looked magnificent all lit up. I hear that people are often judged by the company they keep. 12th June. We motored to Neiafu. On the way I contacted Mark at Sunsail Charters to ask for some water and a mooring. He said to get water we would have to arrive by 1300 hours. We got there with 5 minutes to spare. Water cost $5 and an overnight mooring cost $5. The system seems to be that both Sunsail and The Moorings moorings are free until 1600 hours when one must arrange for an overnight tenure, or anchor in the harbour which is very deep. The mooring we were directed to was for a catamaran so it had 2 mooring lines. Royal Eagle came and anchored beside us. We took a photo of her flanked by 2 square riggers. The one by her stern was the Soren Larsen. The other is an American flagged vessel. We hastened in to town where I changed some money at the bank. I bought groceries then we went to the Bounty Bar for a hamburger $5 and coke. Amesia (the office girl from Atata Island) is now managing it. We also met 2 girls from Royal Eagle. They told us they had out about 500 feet of chain so to beware in case they swung and hit us during the night. I said it would be no problem as I would sue the owner for everything he had as I was on a mooring so I had the law on my side. I told Amesia that I had been into 5 shops looking for a machete and had even described it in words and actions. I had been surprised that no-one had any. She said I should ask for a hele (long knife). We then wandered back to Ana’s Cafe. This place has jetties around it and is the local watering hole for the cruising community. Joy and Laura stayed there while I took Susannah back to the yacht along with the groceries. While we were there the weekly Friday night fun yacht race got under way just along from us. Pericon just missed us. They later touched Barnstorm knocking off their $450 barbeque. Barnstorm also ripped their kevlar mainsail so it was a fairly expensive time. It reinforced my reluctance to race. The winner gets a $20 prize with 2-3 other prizes being drawn from a hat. Pericon won the race which is up and down the harbour. By the time I returned to Ana’s, Gordon (Seasalter) was getting ready to blow the finish hooter. This is a trumpet-like contraption. He has less
breath than anyone else in the fleet. He can only walk 100 metres at a stretch. We had a drink then went back to the boat. Andy (Sanity) came over and we all chatted for several hours. 13th June. True to the Lonely Planet book, Neiafu is a noisy place. Until 2am there was noise from Royal Eagle, Ana’s cafe and a 1000 voice choir who are practising for the king’s birthday (July 4th, in Tongatapu). Dogs added accompaniment. When the singing stopped the roosters started. There is a market from midnight till 1100 hours in Neiafu on Saturdays. Apparently one needs to be early for bargains so at daybreak we all went ashore to check out the markets. We bought some fruit and vegetables. Greens are scarce in Tonga. I then asked at several shops for a hele. The second shop was the supermarket where I asked the same girl I had asked yesterday. ‘Over there’ she pointed to a bin 20 feet from her. There were half a dozen machetes. Five had $10.50 on them and 1 had $11. Won’t tell you which one I bought. We also purchased $125 worth of groceries. The store owner offered us a lift back to Ana’s with the groceries. We now feel like genuine Tongans because we all sat on the back of the ute. Susannah, Rebecca and I took the groceries out to the mother ship. Then we all had showers. Sailed off the mooring under the drifter and returned to Anchorage No 8. Joy and I were invited for drinks at Sanity where we were joined by the crews from Emotion and Barnstorm. Very calm night. 14th June. A quiet morning but after lunch we took the crews of Emotion, Barnstorm, Delphis and Sanity to Swallows Cave. Absolutely awesome colours. At the entrance to the cave the cliff disappears straight down for 200 feet. Inside the cave the bottom is visible in 60-70 feet. I dived down 30 or so feet and the bottom appeared just as far away as when I was on the surface. From the surface the bottom looked close enough to touch. We clambered up a narrow chute to an overhead entrance. The view from there was fantastic with the turquoise water and yellow, cream and white coloured limestone walls. Probably the best sight since the blowholes on Tongatapu. There have been many good sights including the bay in Nomuka Iki, and the beach at Uoleva but this is wonderful. At the entrance there is a rock which when struck by an oar sounds like a drum but we didn’t know that so didn’t hit it. When we returned to Anchorage 8 the Soren Larsen was anchored there so we went aboard and were given a guided tour by the skipper. 15th June. Ordered some meat from the Bounty Bar over the local morning sked. It’s due from Nuku’alofa on Wednesday (when is Wednesday?). Motored over to Anchorage 11 towing a lure without success. The Pericon boys went out to the open sea and hooked a mahi-mahi, a marlin and landed a yellow fin tuna. The mahi-mahi was lost at the boat and the marlin was lost 10 metres from the boat after an hour and a half fight. Apparently it was BIG. Good Teacher Magazine Term 3 2012 43
The rest of the family went to see an abandoned Spanish restaurant. It was abandoned 2 years ago. The tables are still set. Apparently there was a dispute over the rent rise. 16th June. Susannah’s birthday. She’s a teenager now. Birthday greetings came on the morning sked. There is a letter for us at Sunsail which they are going to collect. Birthday greetings also from the other boats. Pericon radioed birthday greetings then later fronted up with some freshly baked scones. I spent most of the day installing the fan with some wire from Emotion. I misunderstood and used more wire than I should have. The fan actually works which has won me some Brownie points from Joy. At night we went to Ana’s Beach for the Tongan feast - $20 per person. No pork but some New Zealand lamb. The food was very tasty and very plentiful. The people in Vava’u are much happier than those in the rest of Tonga. This is definitely the Friendly Isles. This is unusual as it is also a more highly developed tourist destination. On the way back to Anchorage 11 in Plain Jane we saw some phosphorescence. The anchorage is very well protected. The noteworthy feature of snorkelling at Anchorage 11 was a yellow fish with black stripes which has taken up residence under our stern. When I go swimming it stays about 2 metres away but when Joy gets in it swims along quite happily about 6 inches from her chest. The sexual discrimination in Tonga exists even amongst the fish. The water is only 26°C. Back home only the bath water gets this warm but up here it raises goose bumps sometimes. 17th June. Laura took me to the Tapana Island Restaurant and Resort where the family had been 2 days ago. Apparently the father had died and the son had lost interest in it. There are several stories floating around and all avenues are being extended. The whole setup is quite remarkable really, like a time warp with dishes still in the draining rack and magazines waiting to be read. We motor sailed to Anchorage 16. On the way we found our GPS is malfunctioning again. It is about 6 miles so we followed Sanity which made it easier dodging reefs. Again no success with the trolling line. As we turned the last corner into the anchorage we saw the shape of a (rock) dragon silhouetted on an islet. Took 2 attempts at anchoring. The anchor wouldn’t hold with the first one and with the second we were a little closer to the rocks than I feel really comfortable with but we are holding really well. We have tried reversing on the anchor as we normally do but this time we have done it three times and the anchor is not budging. I dived on the anchor but the visibility is very poor here - the worst we’ve seen since Pangai. There is a slight roll coming into the bay. I went ashore (very shallow from the end of the jetty) to buy some bread. It was a 10 minute walk up through the trees to the bakery and restaurant. The 44 Good Teacher Magazine Term 3 2012
view through the trees (with large spiders in their webs) out over the water was worth the walk. An interesting phenomenon is watching the swells roll in every 20 seconds or so and swells (technically seas) every 3-4 seconds coming from the island beneath us. There was only a little wind so there must be some unseen current generating them. In another month the whales will be frolicking out there close to land. I ordered some bread, to be picked up in the morning. 18th June. Joy, Rebecca and Susannah went ashore for the bread and while they were gone Glen from Hornpipe came on board. We spent a pleasant hour before he departed. We then weighed anchor and motored for an hour directly upwind to Port Maurelle, the freezer switch had not been on so we had to run the engine for another hour to freeze the produce. 19th June. Went snorkelling by myself. The visibility was good and the fish life interesting but the water is still only 26°C. Weighed anchor with Rebecca at the helm and raised the drifter. Passed by an American flagged vessel Coeur De Lion going our way under power just off Swallows Cave. It was a tight reach in gusty conditions all the way up the channel. We dropped the drifter off Port of Refuge. I tried to arrange a mooring but there were none available so we anchored on the shelf just under the Princess’ Palace. Even here there are the ubiquitous chooks and pigs. We can also hear either doves or pigeons. The anchorage doesn’t feel very secure but nobody drifts very far. The chain rattles on the coral overnight. Steve called on Adventurer and forgot to tie his dinghy on but 1/2 hour later it was still floating by the boat. Even dinghies get lazy in paradise. The shelf slopes so dramatically that although the depth sounder shows 20 feet one day later the rudder just touched a small bommie (probably 2 feet down). The tidal range is only 4 feet. I ambled into town to get some money and post some letters but when I was almost there I realised that I didn’t have my passport. Rather than row back I walked along to the Paradise Hotel and down through their grounds to Beluga Diving where I whistled to Ruben Jane and Rebecca delivered my passport. I then walked back into town. The post boxes are in the wall of the post office but they have a board over most of the slot - unpainted, of course. It’s unclear whether they are for use or are obsolete and the new ones are around a corner (or two),or there may be no others. It is an insecure feeling posting letters which you think may lie behind a cabinet for years . There are no phone books in Tonga. Why should anyone want a phone book? You know your friends’ number, don’t you!!? I sought directions to the police station for Immigration and was directed to a blue building. It was the fire station. Next door, connected over the fire engine was the police station; around the back was the Immigration office. The man looked at my
passport and then said it was unnecessary to see him until departure time. I walked the long way back to the main street and on the way was passed by a Tongan schoolboy who beat me to the main street by one whole block. I now walk twice as slowly as a Tongan. Holiday fever has really struck. I inspected several shops including a video shop - little sex, mostly comedy and violence. (Does that constitute black humour?) before arriving back at Ana’s Cafe where Malcolm and Linda (Sunset Quest) were looking for crew for the Friday night race. Kevan and Wendy, Steve and Claire and I made up the crew. Just before boarding I helped an American yacht free a cubic metre of bommie from his anchor. The race (15 boats) was the 1st anniversary of the Friday night races so everyone won a prize. We came in about 9th. Kevan and Malcolm went to anchor after the race and I went in our dinghy to pick them up. Earlier Joy had rowed ashore towing 4 other dinghies. However I spent so much time delivering other people ashore that I lost their boat. With the sun setting it really was a Sunset Quest. We finally made it back to Ana’s in time for a drink before retiring to Ruben Jane for the night. An adjacent night club kept up the music until well after midnight. 20th June. Joy, Laura and I walked into town for a small number of groceries. At the supermarket the checkout operator is Lolly Sio’s cousin. Lolly was in Tauranga for a while. In the afternoon Laura and I went to Adventurer to listen to the rugby test. Then we went to see the practice for the Vava’u contingent who are going to Nuku’alofa for the king’s 80th birthday on July 4th. There were 3-400 singers and dancers. The Crown Princess was there watching. Afterwards she got into her car and was driven across the road to her palace. We walked home - well down to the Beluga Diving jetty behind the Paradise Hotel and motored back to the boat. Apparently the park where the show was held has a tree capable of sheltering 500 people beneath its branches but we did not see it.
dinghy had disappeared overnight. We went ashore to Sunsail and took a taxi to the gas filling station and back. Then Tony and I went up-harbour looking for Brian’s boat. We were nearing the top of the harbour when we saw Mark (Sunsail Charters) towing it back. We went ashore to the Bounty Bar to pick up our meat ordered last Monday, then back to the boat. Collected 4 gallons of water off our roof this morning. Could have collected a lot more but we weren’t here. Before I left earlier this morning I had blocked the cockpit drains so we could have a wash as the water was warm. This is the first rain they have had in 3 months. All the water around us is dirty from the land runoff. Had a quiet evening at home. 23rd June. Heard on the morning sked that we had mail so Susannah and Laura went ashore for that. There was a letter for Susannah and one from Joy’s mum. We took the rubbish and the laundry ashore then went for a walk to find the ice cream factory. It was on the shore of the Old Harbour. We took a circuitous route but it was interesting to see the backstreets of Neiafu. Our footwear got very muddy and it was hard to clean afterwards. We purchased 4 litres of ice cream plus a small one each. Took a shorter route home. We stopped at Sanity for morning tea and when we departed we left the ice cream in their freezer. I returned to shore to pick up our laundry. Met the couple off Windflower. I was able to help them with information about Neiafu and the Vava’u’s. We motored to Port Maurelle where Joy and I had a snorkel but the water visibility was not good, probably as a result of the rain last night. We joined with Adventurer, Makani, Sanity, Episode, Emotion and Evergreen for a barbeque ashore. A rolly night followed with the wind holding all the
21st June. We went to church in Neiafu. Yvonne came with us. The Princess and her husband were there too. The format was more formal than at Atata Island. They had a 10 piece brass band and the singing was better - more tuneful, not as much shouting. A dog came in out of the hot sun and lay down in front of me. In the afternoon Rebecca, Susannah and Laura went for a swim at the Paradise Hotel, Joy had a sleep and I caught up with correspondence. At night we all joined the Sanity crew on board Emotion for a bbq which went until very late but was a lot of fun. 22nd June. Awoken by singing coming from the palace. The rain set in about the same time. It was torrential. Joy went with Rebecca to the Italian clinic (local GP). Yvonne called and offered to look after Susannah and Laura while Tony, Brian and I went to fill the gas bottles. When we arrived at Emotion we found that their Good Teacher Magazine Term 3 2012 45
boats across the bay and the swell coming directly in. The children reminded me that the island just outside the bay looks like the top of a McDonald’s bun and the island on the horizon looks like a hash brown. Sometimes I despair! Here they are 5 weeks away from New Zealand and they are still craving McDonalds. 24th June. Borrowed a can of electronic CRC cleaner from Marty (Makani) then picked up Brian (Emotion) so he could take some photos of us and Ruben Jane so we could give one to John Goater. I then borrowed a siphon off Adventurer. I siphoned the diesel into the tanks then tried to fix the GPS. Still no success. I will request help over the sked tomorrow morning. The children enjoyed my story last night about the whales surrounding the plankton then plundering them with cries of ‘krill, krill, krill!’ Had another snorkel with Joy around the edge of the bay and saw 4-5 we han’t seen before including 2 baby-pink starfish 30 cm across. At one stage Joy was trying to show me a blue-and-yellow fish on one side of a bommie and I was trying to show her a blue-and-yellow fish on the other side. Both fish were different. Late in the afternoon we motored around to Anchorage 8 because it gives a better radio reception for the morning. 25th June. I put a plea out on the morning sked for the location of an electronics expert. I was told that the local man at was available Ch 13 after 1000 hours. Makani had had dealings with him and had found his work substandard so I didn’t contact him. Sanity contacted us about a snorkelling expedition so we motored back to Port Maurelle (about 1/2 mile) where we boarded Barnstorm and motored out through a 40 metre wide pass between 2 islands on the way to the Coral Gardens. When we rounded the final corner there was quite a swell hitting the reef so initially we were reluctant to dive but Phil (Evergreen) brought back a report of awesome water clarity. I went in and found the report true. I could see people 70 metres away. The coral was disappointing as was the fish life but being able to see the bottom in 285 feet was memorable. Apparently the coral bed had been devastated in 1990 during cyclone Kina and hasn’t recovered yet. The water felt considerably warmer than the last few days. There was a considerable drop-off but there was a shelf before it plunged again into the depths. We retraced our steps to Mariners Cave. When we were almost abreast the cave we came upon a family of dolphins so Rebecca and 3 others jumped in but the dolphins didn’t stay around to play. They were left with 150 metres to swim to the cave; the rest of us had 30 metres. I was first into the cave. It had been a big psychological barrier to many people but we had been told that if you can swim under the keel on your boat you would have no trouble getting in to Mariners Cave. The entrance is about 1 metre down and about 3 metres in. When a couple of others had entered I 46 Good Teacher Magazine Term 3 2012
swam out again to show those remaining that we had successfully negotiated the entrance. I then went back in again and photographed people as they entered. Susannah went really deep as she entered. As I waited for Joy I had the camera pointed at 6-8 feet. She finally slithered into sight at about 1 foot shallow. Everyone agreed that the hardest entrance was the first one - the psychological barrier. Inside it was a wonderful experience. Joy’s fluorescent coral-pink togs glowed in the subdued light as did the masks and snorkels. Every 20-30 seconds as the water level changed in the cave, due to the swell, a mist would form. Our ears were also affected. From our sitting position at the rear of the cave it became difficult to see the entrance 14 metres away; then it would become crystal clear over 2-3 seconds. It was quite an inspiring experience. The water swirled at our left but otherwise the water rose and fell about 2 feet. It was cooler in the cave but not cold. After about 20 minutes or so and a few photographs I swam out and photographed people as they swam out. Again Joy was one of those who came out near the surface. Several others benefited from the confidence boost of the experience too. Once more in Port Maurelle I rowed over to Kapaiora and asked for assistance from Jan to fix my GPS. His expertise is in the electronic field. He generously came and had a look at it but without a circuit diagram and an oscilloscope he couldn’t identify the problem area. He didn’t charge either which was extremely kind as he spent most of an hour working on it. There was a barbeque ashore tonight but we didn’t attend. Instead we made thick shakes out of the melted ice cream we finally retrieved from Sanity’s safe keeping. At bedtime I amused the girls by playing tunes on my teeth with my toothbrush. One of the most fulfilling days of the trip so far. 26th June. Went ashore to burn the rubbish. Last night there were 15 boats in Port Maurelle. We motor sailed with the drifter up to Anchorage 41 (Mounu) a delightful tropical island which had beautiful white sand and turquoise water. Picked up a mooring which took 2 attempts as I picked up the wrong buoy on the first attempt. I should have picked up the old oil can with the loop on the top instead of the buoy. The moorings are new. The lady on the island told us they are made from 2 concrete blocks chained together. The mooring cost us $2 because we didn’t eat at the restaurant. Had lunch on Sanity then went ashore. Ashore there is the stern of Scaramouche, a yacht wrecked on an adjacent island 3 years ago. After a walk around the island we sailed off the mooring and headed for Anchorage 10. Delphis was behind us and with all her sails up she still couldn’t catch us. In fact we were gaining on Sanity who had all her jib unfurled and her motor going too. We only had our drifter up but when we eased sail through the gap between Kapa and Taunga we made speeds of 6.7 knots with consistent 6.1 knots. Although we were trolling a line still no fish came to visit. Just as we doused the sail we passed over a large patch of jellyfish. Let go the anchor then
we snorkelled over it. The water clarity was remarkable. However the anchor was just lying on the bottom. Susannah and I dived on it several times trying to dig it in but the coral was only several inches under the sand so we re-anchored. Even then only 1 fluke was buried. Also discovered that our depth sounder is reading 16 feet deeper than reality. 27th June. A very lazy morning. Joy, Rebecca, Susannah and Laura had a lot of laughs with Andy in the cockpit. Headed in convoy for Anchorage 30 (Kenutu - the easternmost bar in the world). There are a couple of doglegs in the course and once we were through the first one we hoisted the drifter and our speed increased to 6 knots. However we were not quite able to point high enough to clear the reef off the S tip of Ofu Island so we lowered the sail and resorted to motor. I was up in the rigging and it was easy to see the route. Delphis had raised their jib too but instead of lowering it they put in a big tack towards the S. Just as we were arriving at Kenutu Matangi sneaked past. Three other boats followed soon afterwards so Barnstorm would have been happy. The convoy started with 5 boats and ended with 9. Arrived just in time to join Sanity for the broadcast of the rugby test. I cooked sweet and sour chicken for tea - delicious. 28th June. Another lazy morning in paradise. I did the dishes then Laura and I motored around the anchorage photographing all the ICA boats.We then joined Steve (Delphis), Ethan (6) and Jackson (4) from Omega in a walk across the island of Kenutu. On the E side of the island it is exposed to the ocean swells and the surf beats against the cliffs. The swell was only about 1 1/2 metres but the noise during the night had occasionally been explosive. After lunch Steve, Claire and I motored over to the adjacent island of Umuma in their deflatable, (called deflatable because it keeps on slowly deflating.) Once ashore we found the track which led to a huge hole in the ground. Steve clambered down first and by the time Claire and I arrived he was sitting on a long rock jutting out into the saltwater pool. It looked as though he was sitting on a saltwater crocodile. The water was cool and we were hot but there was a slight scum on the water which made it uninviting so we didn’t have a swim. Back on Delphis we pulled the anchor around to the stern and hoisted the spinnaker to try to make a swing but the breeze was not strong enough. Linda (Sunset Quest) had a birthday barbeque ashore so we all joined in a pot-luck. It was eaten in the Berlin Bar at the almost abandoned resort. A very enjoyable evening which went quite late. 29th June. Spent some time this morning with Claire and Steve hoisting their spinnaker on our boat and trying to make a swing of it. Claire and Laura were light enough to get airborne in about 6-7 knots but the rest of us are too heavy. Laura took a mighty tumble into the sea from about 10 feet up. She was wearing her lifejacket and flippers along with her wetsuit so she
was all right. Early on Claire had been videoing us from Omega. We made some improvements to the arrangement but then the wind died so we had to wait until afternoon. After lunch I rowed around the fleet picking up rubbish which I then took ashore and burned. Then we started playing with the spinnaker again. In fact we had so much fun that we spent all afternoon playing with it. Rebecca was the only other one to get airborne. The wind did get up to 8-9 knots for a short time. On our boat it looked really good with the sinking sun behind the spinnaker. Right on sunset a charter boat got onto and off a reef half a mile out from our anchorage. He was guided towards our anchorage by Glen (Hornpipe) then he hit another reef just outside our anchorage, then he finally parked very close to Barnstorm. Moses from Kenutu said that sailors don’t have problems on the reef but charter boats do!!! Steve and Claire stayed for tea and Susannah cooked. During the night the wind got up and would have been sufficient to have flown the heaviest one in the spinnaker, however there were no takers. 30th June. Picked up a torque wrench from Hornpipe for Tranquillo who was in Neiafu then motored out from Kenutu. Off Ofu Island we raised the jib and in a SE breeze to 18 knots sailed W. As we couldn’t find the gap in the reef we lowered the jib again. When we realised where we should be, we backtracked and once more on the N side of the reef we soon saw the channel markers. Once through the channel, with me up the mast, we raised both sails. 4 other yachts had followed us out of the channel about 1/2 mile astern. The wind dropped to 11-14 knots but we still made reasonable speed. Just past the island of Taunga we passed Romana sailing upwind. She looked a pretty picture. On between the islands of Ava and Oto the wind increased and our speed went up too. Barnstorm was doing her best to catch us but we held our own. The big red ferry passed us on the way into the harbour. We motored alongside Tranquillo and handed over the torque wrench before returning to Sunsail jetty to replenish the water tanks. We anchored back near our old anchorage by the Palace but a little farther off shore than previously. I had a chat to the Australian manager of the ANZ. He told me that there had never been a bank robbery in Tonga but he, personally had been held up twice in Australia. I then managed to squeeze into the supermarket just on closing time where I purchased some bread and milk. The checkout operator told me I would be too late for the Post Office so I didn’t even try. I had taken an oar so I slung the bags over each end of it and carried it on my shoulder. It hurt my shoulder so I won’t do that again. We had intended going to Port Maurelle tonight but the fuel is due tomorrow instead of 2 days time The trip on the Ruben Jane continues in the next issue of Good Teacher Magazine Good Teacher Magazine Term 3 2012 47
More in the “Interesting Sculpture” Series
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The winning entry in the Rural Letter Box competition... Discuss with your class and design a letterbox on a theme.. Rural, The cow shed, Racing cars Your hobby Plants the beach house a new letterbox for your school perhaps? See what they draw and in groups get each group to construct the best design in their group (or perhaps combine designs) for parents to vote on at parents night (great moneyspinner if they have to pay to vote)
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Award winning sculpture using â€˜found round the farmâ€™ objects as the recent Fieldays in Hamilton... detail next page
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Second Place â€˜gator
Not part of the sculpture competition but very eye-catching were the balloon representations of wind generators enticing people in to get a farm energy audit. What is an energy audit? How can it help? Does your school do one regularly?... Discuss these and other questions about energy and its measurement with your class and see where it leads
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Let’s Copy How: Finland, Singapo and Canada...Teach Science Finland: “To Make Students Enjoy Chemistry Is Hard Work” Courtesy of Ari Myllyviita.
THE 2009 PISA test, assessed the knowledge of students from 65 countries and economies—34 of which are members of the development organization the OECD, including the United States—in math, science, and reading. What do the leading countries do differently? To find out, Slate asked science teachers from five countries that are among the world’s best in science education—Finland, Singapore, South Korea, New Zealand, and Canada—how they approach their subject and the classroom. Their recommendations: Keep students engaged and make the science seem relevant.
Ari Myllyviita teaches chemistry as well as future science educators in Finland Finland was first among the 34 OECD countries in the 2009 PISA science rankings and second—behind mainland China—among all 65 nations and economies that took the test. Ari Myllyviita teaches chemistry and works with future science educators at theViikki Teacher Training School of Helsinki University. Finland’s National Core Curriculum is premised on the idea “that learning is a result of a student’s active and focused actions aimed to process and interpret received information in interaction with other students, teachers and the environment and on the basis of his or her existing knowledge structures.” My conception of learning lies strongly on this citation from our curriculum. My aim is to support knowledgebuilding, socioculturally: to create socially supported activity in student’s zone of proximal development (the area where student need some support to achieve next level of understanding or skill). The student’s previous knowledge is the starting point, and then the learning is bound to the activity during lessons—experiments, simulations, and observing
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ore, South Korea, New Zealand phenomena. The National Core Curriculum also states, “The purpose of instruction in chemistry is to support development of students’ scientific thinking and modern worldview.” Our teaching is based on examination and observations of substances and chemical phenomena, their structures and properties, and reactions between substances. Through experiments and theoretical models, students are taught to understand everyday life and nature. In my classroom, I use discussion, lectures, demonstrations, and experimental work—quite often based on group work. Between lessons, I use social media and other information communication technologies to stay in touch with students. In addition to the National Core Curriculum, my school has its own. They have the same bases, but our own curriculum is more concrete. Based on these, I write my course and lesson plans. Because of different learning styles, I use different kinds of approaches, sometimes theoretical and sometimes experimental. Always there are new concepts and perhaps new models to explain the phenomena or results. To make students enjoy learning chemistry is hard work. I think that as a teacher, you have to love your subject and enjoy teaching even when there are sometimes students who don´t pay attention to you. But I get satisfaction when I can give a purpose for the future by being a supportive teacher.
Singapore: How One Country Transformed Its Science Education
Singapore placed fourth out of 65 in the 2009 PISA science education assessment. Dr. Charles Chew is a principal master teacher (physics) with the Academy of Singapore Teachers. Since joining the education service in 1986, he has been a junior college lecturer, head of science and vice principal of a secondary school, and a teaching fellow at the National Institute of Education. As a science teacher in Singapore, I have witnessed the successful transformation of science education over the last few decades and attribute this to three key factors: •
a systematic and systemic approach to curriculum planning and development to ensure that our focus is future-relevant
a strong and connected community of curriculum planners, education experts, and school teachers toward enabling the curriculum in context, and
a commitment to developing a strong teaching force.
Singapore has come a long way in education. In the 1960s, the young nation had to tackle the urgent task of educating the population for a newly industrializing economy. Today, we have a highly customized education system that aims to prepare our young people for a future with exciting scientific developments and increasing uncertainties. Our curriculum is intended to encourage the betterment of society, acquisition of subject matter knowledge, the individual personal development, and thinking skills. This balance is to ensure that our school curriculum is future-relevant, focusing on developing holistic and future-ready competencies in our students. As education evolves to meet the needs of the country’s citizenry, so has the focus of science education. A renewed emphasis on making science education more “inquiry-centric” has led to a revised Science Curriculum Framework for Singapore in 2008. In a nutshell, the inquiry approach encourages our students to ask questions about things they see around them and to maintain that curiosity, which will enable them to continue learning even after they leave school.
Dr. Charles chew is a principal master teacher (physics) with the academy of singapore teachers Courtesy of Charles Chew.
Invariably, students walk away from my class being more inquisitive and more observant of the world around them. A sound curriculum framework is a necessary but not sufficient condition for success. Our teachers play a critical role in enacting the science curriculum in the classroom. This is because the interface between the curriculum and the students is the teacher who Good Teacher Magazine Term 3 2012 55
breathes life into the educational process. Deepening the teachers’ professional practices also aids us in building strong connected communities with local and overseas partners. As a Master Teacher in Science, I work closely with experts from the National Institute of Education (our teacher training college), school teachers, and specialist groups such as the Singapore Science Centre and professional associations to expand the learning opportunities for our teachers to ensure that teachers are kept up-todate in their professional practice.
South Korea: “Scores Don’t Guarantee Happiness or Success at the Graduate Level”
Soojin Lim teaches biology at Hansung Science High School, Seoul, South Korea Courtesy of Soojin Lim. South Korea came in sixth place out of 65 in the 2009 PISA assessment. Soojin Lim teaches biology at Hansung Science High School in Seoul. In Korea, students, teachers, and parents firmly believe that fostering experts in science and technology is essential to national competitiveness in the 21st century. The importance of science education is reflected in the number of public science high schools in my country. There are 20 science high schools and four science academies for the gifted, which are all geared toward gifted education in math and science. Also, there are more than 100 sciencecentered high schools nationwide, which provide students with an in-depth science curriculum and laboratories to support and encourage science education. I believe the strength of our science education comes from enthusiastic teachers who are dedicated and qualified. The Ministry of Education, Science, and Technology and Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education have strived to strengthen teachers’ competency, supporting professional development through science in-service programs. These include 56 Good Teacher Magazine Term 3 2012
online courses held year-round. I was supported by both MEST and SMOE in 2005 and was able to study at the University of Virginia for my master’s degree in gifted education. As a biology teacher at Hansung Science High School in Seoul, the curriculum is flexible, so I have been able to build my own. This is an exceptional situation, as many general high schools in Korea have a more rigid curriculum to cover the material on national standardized tests. The goals of my classes are to assist students in motivating themselves, to relate biology topics to the real world, and to nurture the ability to inquire by challenging students. Korean students generally spend quite a lot of time studying concepts and principles rather than handson activities at the secondary level, even reviewing at home and on weekends. This is a way of obtaining knowledge in a short time and probably contributes to high math and science test scores, but the scores don’t guarantee happiness or success at the graduate level. Personally, I believe that even though hands-on experiments like those emphasized at my school take longer to show student achievement, they will pay off in the long run. In my opinion, learning concepts and principles is as important as learning through handson activities. Last year, I taught a weekly two-hour biology lab. Approximately 20 percent of that time was spent lecturing, and 80 percent was spent doing selfdesigned experiments, discussing, presenting, and occasionally debating. This year, however, I teach advanced biology to seniors, so students have a two-hour lecture to prepare for the university entrance exam. As a teacher, I feel rewarded when students say that various activities and study materials in my class enable them to explore and connect a topic to their daily lives. It’s amazing when students find studying science fascinating and exciting.
New Zealand: “Students Disengage When a Teacher Is Simply Repeating Facts or Ideas”
Steve Martin is head of junior science at Howick College in New Zealand Courtesy of Steve Martin.
New Zealand came in seventh place out of 65 in the 2009 PISA assessment. Steve Martin is head of junior science at Howick College. In 2010, he received the prime minister’s award for science teaching. Science education is an important part of preparing students for their role in the community. Scientific understanding will allow them to engage in issues that concern them now and in the future, such as genetically modified crops. In New Zealand, science is also viewed as having a crucial role to play in the future of the economic health of the country. This can be seen in the creation of the “Prime Minister’s Science Prizes,” a program that identifies the nation’s leading scientists, emerging and future scientists, and science teachers.
this greatly influences the opportunities I provide for students. My students learn to love to be challenged and to see that all ideas help develop greater understanding. Students value the opportunity to contribute to others’ understanding, and they disengage when a teacher is simply repeating facts or ideas. I have written a book which outlines my philosophy in more detail. It is called Using SOLO as Framework for Teaching: A Case Study in Maximising Achievement in Science.
Canada: “Science Teachers Like Me Often Feel We Are off the Radar”
The New Zealand Science Curriculum allows for flexibility depending on contextual factors such as school location, interests of students, and teachers’ specialization. The curriculum has the “Nature of Science” as its foundation, which supports students learning the skills essential to a scientist, such as problem-solving and effective communication. The Nature of Science refers to the skills required to work as a scientist, how to communicate science effectively through science-specific vocabulary, and how to participate in debates and issues with a scientific perspective. School administrators support innovation and risktaking by teachers, which fosters the “let’s have a go” attitude. In my own classroom, I utilize computer technology to create virtual science lessons that support and encourage students to think for themselves and learn at their own pace. Virtual Lessons are Web-based documents that support learning in and outside the classroom. They include support for students of all abilities by providing digital resources targeted at different levels of thinking. These could include digital flashcards that support vocabulary development, videos that explain the relationships between ideas or facts, and links to websites that allow students to create cartoon animations. The students are then supported by the use of instant messaging, online collaborative documents, and email so they can get support from their peers and myself at anytime. I provide students with various levels of success criteria, which are statements that students and teachers use to evaluate performance. In every lesson I provide the students with three different levels of success criteria, each providing an increase in cognitive demand. The following is an example based on the topic of the carbon cycle: I can identify the different parts of the carbon cycle. I can explain how all the parts interact with each other to form the carbon cycle. I can predict the effect that removing one part of the carbon cycle has on the environment. These provide challenge for all abilities and at the same time make it clear what students need to do to be successful. I value creativity and innovation, and
Rick Pardo is a learning coordinator for 7-12 science for the Thames Valley District School Board, Ontario, Canada Courtesy of Rick Pardo. Canada came in eighth place out of 65 in the 2009 PISA assessment. Rick Pardo is a learning coordinator for 7-12 science for the Thames Valley District School Board in Ontario. The Ontario education system conducts provincewide tests in reading, writing, and mathematics for primary, junior, and secondary students. Science is not part of the standardized testing, and science teachers like me often feel that we are off the radar. The strength of our science programs comes from the dedication and enthusiasm of qualified teachers. Scientific literacy is critical to the continued innovation and ultimate survival of our species. The scientifically literate will control technology—the scientifically illiterate will be controlled. I believe education should empower students rather than control them. Put education in the hands of learners, and you change the way the world works. Instead of providing a detailed set of written instructions, each experiment is modeled. Students Good Teacher Magazine Term 3 2012 57
Let‘s Copy How... cont. make detailed observations and then replicate the basic experiment and its results. It is amazing to see students’ attention to detail with this approach. Once students master the basic protocol (with consistent results), they are ready to ask their own questions, make their own predictions, and modify variables. In my classes, students don’t just design and conduct experiments. They also support and refute opinions, build prototypes, and solve messy problems. I recently took advantage of a national election to combine biology, chemistry, and environment concepts. Students were assigned one of the main four political parties and asked to prepare for a debate around a series of questions, like, “If your party were to form the government, what can the rest of the world expect regarding the future
release of CO2 by Canadians?” and, “What does politics have to do with the science of ecology?” The students poured over party platforms, investigated the background science, and interviewed local candidates. Some even made their way to national party headquarters. Students tell me that they find our class activities challenging and at times frustrating. But in the end, they appreciate the real-world connections they make and learn that it’s OK to take chances and make mistakes. http://www.slate.com This article arises from Future Tense, a joint partnership of Slate, the New America Foundation, and Arizona State University.
Themed cars at the Fieldays... how many more could your class invent and draw?
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Roger’s Rant Twenty percent of our primary age children are not achieving. The teachers are letting them down. Teachers. Some children are coming to school unfed and uncared for. The parents are letting them down. Parents. Poor wages and unfair taxes are making it too hard to provide the basics for our children. The Government is letting us down. Government Ministers. We are not able to relax fiscal controls as our budgets are very limited. The Minister of Finance is letting us down. Minister of Finance. I follow orders from the top. The PM is letting us down. P.M. Duh. P.M.
The following is the transcription of a fictitious interview between Roger’s Rant and the editor of a regional tabloid. It was dreamed up after Roger drank a flask of tequila, thinking it was Horlicks.
RR Thank you for agreeing to this interview. I know that your publication has anonymous editorials, so is it alright if I just call you Mr. Editor? ME
Make it Mister Ed. if you like.
RR Of course. Of course. Mr. Ed. Why do you eschew identifying editorial writers? Are you afraid that people who disagree with their opinions may be a threat? ME
Of course not. It’s a tradition in the trade.
RR I’ve read that tradition is the last refuge of a mental pauper.
ME Absolutely, as the Treasury has stated quite clearly, the national economy depends on raising the educational standards of the country and the long tail in literacy and numeracy is clearly the result of inferior teaching. Ask the P.M. RR But PISA results indicate that New Zealand students have a comparably high standard of education and the tail is not as long as those of most OECD countries. ME PISA, isn’t that where the leaning tower is? Well, some of our students may be being taught well but proper teachers can do much better with the underachievers. They’re falling off. RR You believe that performance pay will make for better teachers? ME It’s common sense. Of course it will. Look we want to reward those teachers who get brilliant results. Isn’t that fair? Too many are getting away with being slack. Look at all the holidays they have? If it weren’t for the unions, things would have been different a long time ago. Just look at the on-line comments to the editorials. Everyone agrees with our sentiments. RR Every time I read an editorial or an article about education in your publication, I read about how teacher unions are blocking reform. Isn’t that insulting to teachers? Aren’t the unions merely following teacher thinking, rather than dictating to them? Or perhaps the mention of unions is like a red-rag* to a bull and is enough to alienate the public-a bit like the dancing-cossacks ad and you don’t have to do any in-depth thinking or research to advance your opinions to a believing readership?
ME Whatever. We are certainly not afraid to promote the truth to our readers.
ME Not at all. Some of my best friends are teachers and I wouldn’t care to insult them, especially those who subscribe to this paper. Also, I went to school, so I should know how the system works. Teachers are individuals and can think for themselves.
RR I’d like to ask you about your recent editorial about performance pay for teachers. In it, you came out very strongly in favour of the Government’s stated intention to initiate this.
RR You go on in your editorial to say that performance pay for teachers has not worked in some countries because teachers have cheated and provided incorrect data. Isn’t that vilifying
What illiterate oaf said that?
RR I believe it was Maurice Shadbolt in his award-winning novel, The Lovelock Version.
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teachers and insulting to the majority who are both honest and hard-working? Perhaps it hasn’t worked overseas because performance criteria are crude, narrow and unreliable and societal aspects are ignored? It must be extremely difficult to teach children from some cultures.
RR Using your argument, that means the good teachers are at present teaching only the students who are passing the exams.
ME I have the evidence about teacherfalsification of student results. That speaks for itself. Look, teachers are employed by the Government. They have no right to think for themselves.
RR OK, so the less-effective teachers who are responsible for the tail…
RR I could point out the inconsistency here but let’s move on. How do you define a good teacher? ME I’m not an expert but surely it’s obvious that those with students who pass exams are good teachers. RR
What about primary teachers?
ME That’s where National Standards will come in. It will be my duty to publish achievement data of schools in my region. That should sell papers-er, inform concerned readers who have the right to know who are the good teachers. RR Isn’t there a risk of teachers abandoning all the other things that they do? After all, if their livelihood depends on a reading or maths test, wouldn’t it be human nature to neglect all their other work and concentrate on those two tests? ME
RR Pastoral care for children, playground duty, camps, concerts, productions, coaching weekend sports, kapa haka, road-crossing duty, PTA, working bees, fund-raising, dealing with parents, mentoring beginning teachers… not to mention the rest of the curriculum. Did you know that science is hardly taught these days? ME See, there are ineffective teachers then. Why should they get automatic salary advances? RR They don’t. Their principals must attest that they have taught satisfactorily.
ME Not my argument old boy-it’s what the research is saying.
ME …Well, with the incentives to improve, they would soon become effective or it’s the chop. Stands to reason. There are plenty of beginning teachers to replace them. RR You don’t think that children who are poorly-parented, under-nourished and unhappy would make teaching really difficult? ME That sort of deficit thinking needs to be eradicated if the economy is ever going to improve. RR So, you don’t think that teachers are scapegoats for some faulty social and educational governmental policies? ME Hardly. Research clearly indicates, so I’m told, that teaching is the most important factor whether a student learns or not. If a kid doesn’t have breakfast, all the teacher needs to do is give him a couple of Weetbix. RR Truancy is high. A teacher can’t do much with an absent student. ME Proves my point. A good teacher would have nobody absent. The kids all know who is effective and would want to be in his………or her class. RR On a personal note, Mr. Ed. Did you have good teachers? ME Yes, I was lucky. They certainly taught me to think and look where I am today. My literacy skills are most excellent-I avoid clichés like the plague and remember to never split an infinitive. I hate to think what I might have become if I had been part of the tail.
ME Ha! They must have a big supply of rubber stamps. No, the process must be rigorous and been seen to be so. RR
So, who should teach the tail?
ME Well, obviously the good teachers, as it seems pretty clear that there wouldn’t be a tail if their present teachers were up to the mark.
* All puns are intended, even those the author has not noticed. Good Teacher Magazine Term 3 2012 61
“The best teachers don’t give you the answers... They just point the way ... and let you make your own choices.”
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